Tinto Brass

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Tinto Brass
Tinto Brass 01.jpg
Giovanni Brass

(1933-03-26) 26 March 1933 (age 86)
Occupation Film director
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)Carla Cipriani (1957–2006; her death)
Awards Venice Film Festival:
Best Italian Film

1971. For La Vacanza.
Award of Excellence

2012. For Brass' early works.
Website http://www.tintobrass.it/

Giovanni "Tinto" Brass (born 26 March 1933) is an Italian filmmaker. In the 1960s and 1970s, he directed many critically acclaimed avant-garde films of various genres. Today, he is mainly known for his later work in the erotic genre, with films such as Caligula , Così fan tutte (released under the English title All Ladies Do It), Paprika , Monella (Frivolous Lola) and Trasgredire .



Avant-garde cinema

In the 1960s and 1970s Brass was considered a promising experimental and avant-garde director, and his debut film Who Works Is Lost got very favorable reviews after screening at Venice Film Festival 1963. [1] In 1964, he was commissioned by Umberto Eco to create two short films experimenting with visual language for the 13th Triennale di MilanoTempo Libero and Tempo Lavorativo. [2] Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, Brass directed films in many genres, including western ( Yankee ) and crime ( Col cuore in gola ), all using a very experimental editing- and camera-style. [3] In 1968, Paramount Pictures offered Brass the job of directing A Clockwork Orange , which did not happen due to scheduling conflicts. [4] In an article about the filming of Dropout from 1970, he was called the "Antonioni of the 70s". [5] His early period has been referred to as "rebellios[ sic ], anarchistic and experimental". [6]

Tinto Brass and Caterina Varzi at the 2009 Venice Film Festival Flickr - nicogenin - 66eme Festival de Venise (Mostra) (30).jpg
Tinto Brass and Caterina Varzi at the 2009 Venice Film Festival

L'urlo was shown in competition at Berlin Film Festival 1970. [7] La Vacanza , starring Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero won the prize of the film critics for the best Italian film at 1971 Venice Film Festival. [8] In 1972, Brass was a member of the jury at the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival. [9]

Erotic cinema

After Salon Kitty and Caligula , the style of his films gradually changed towards erotic films. Caligula was originally supposed to be a satire on power instead of an erotic film, but the producers changed and re-edited the film entirely without Brass's consent, removing many political and comical scenes, and re-shooting pornographic ones, to make the film a pornographic drama. The director demanded that his name be stricken from the credits, and he is only credited for "Principal Photography". [10] Despite this, the film remains his most widely viewed work (and the highest-grossing Italian film released in the United States). Other notable works of Brass's later period include The Key and Senso '45 . He was making films into his seventies. [11]


Brass' films since his early works follow an impressionistic style – they tend not to show immense landscapes, but bits and pieces of the scenery and peripheral characters and objects through pans and zooms, thus imitating how the viewer might see the events if he were actually present. This also gives the films an extraordinarily rapid pace. He often uses a television-like multicam method of shooting, with at least three cameras running at once, each focusing on something different.

There are many other directorial trademarks throughout his films. From 1976's Salon Kitty onwards, mirrors play a large part in the set design. Sometimes he even goes as far as to begin a scene with a mirror shot, then pan over to the action being reflected, giving a disorienting feeling. His erotic films – especially The Key , Miranda and All Ladies Do It – often accentuate women's ample buttocks and pubic hair as well as underarm hair.

Brass' films in the 1980s and early 1990s had mainly been adaptations of famous literary works usually in the erotic genre, namely The Key (La chiave), The Mistress of the Inn (Miranda), the novel Le lettere da Capri by Mario Soldati ( Capriccio ), the novel Snack Bar Budapest by Marco Lodoli and Silvia Bre (eponymous), Fanny Hill (Paprika), and the novel L'uomo che guarda by Alberto Moravia ( The Voyeur ), while 2002 film Senso '45 is an adaptation of Senso , previously filmed by Luchino Visconti.

Many of Brass' works qualify as period drama set during World War II (Salon Kitty and Senso '45, set in Berlin and Asolo respectively), in postbellum Italy (Miranda and Capriccio), antebellum Italy (The Key), and in 1950s Italy (Paprika and Monella).

Brass almost always works in a cameo for his friend Osiride Pevarello and himself as well. He was also featured as the presenter in the direct-to-video erotic short films compilation Tinto Brass presenta Corti Circuiti Erotici released in four volumes in 1999.

Personal life

His nickname Tintoretto (later shortened to Tinto) was given by his grandfather Italico Brass, a renowned Gorizian painter. [12]

Brass was married to Carla Cipriani ("Tinta"), from 1957 until her death in 2006. Carla was the daughter of Harry's Bar founder Giuseppe Cipriani, who managed the restaurant Locanda Cipriani on the Venetian island of Torcello and also collaborated as a screenwriter in Brass's films. The couple had a daughter, Beatrice, and a son, Bonifacio. [13]

Brass is politically affiliated with Italian Radicals. [14]

On Sunday, 18 April 2010, he suffered an intracranial hemorrhage. [15]


In 2012, Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival did a retrospective on Brass' early 1960s and 1970s films, screening newly restored versions. [16] The restorations were done in collaboration with Alexander Tuschinski, who in recent years researched Brass' 1960s/1970s works and has been called "the foremost scholastic authority on Tinto Brass". [17]


Filmography as actor

Related Research Articles

<i>Caligula</i> (film) 1979 film by Tinto Brass

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<i>The Howl</i> 1968 film by Tinto Brass

The Howl is a 1970 Italian comedy film directed by Tinto Brass. It was entered into the 20th Berlin International Film Festival.

<i>Miranda</i> (1985 film) 1985 film by Tinto Brass

Miranda is a 1985 Italian erotic drama film directed by Tinto Brass. It is loosely based on the three-act comedy La locandiera by Carlo Goldoni.

<i>Salon Kitty</i> (film) 1976 film by Tinto Brass

Salon Kitty is a 1976 erotic-war-drama film directed by Tinto Brass. The film was coproduced by Italy, France and West Germany. It is based on the novel of the same name by Peter Norden, covering the real life events of the Salon Kitty Incident, where the Sicherheitsdienst took over an expensive brothel in Berlin, had the place wire tapped and all the prostitutes replaced with trained spies in order to gather data on various members of the Nazi party and foreign dignitaries.

<i>Deported Women of the SS Special Section</i> 1976 film by Rino Di Silvestro

Le deportate della sezione speciale SS is a 1976 erotic-drama film directed by Rino Di Silvestro. The film is considered the first Italian nazisploitation film, after the "auteur" progenitors such as Liliana Cavani's art film Il portiere di notte and Tinto Brass' exploitation film Salon Kitty.

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<i>Col cuore in gola</i> 1966 film by Tinto Brass

Col cuore in gola is a 1967 giallo film directed by Tinto Brass. It is loosely based on the novel Il sepolcro di carta written by Sergio Donati. The film used storyboards from cartoonist Guido Crepax. It has been released under several titles including Deadly Sweet and I Am What I Am.

Silvano Ippoliti was an Italian cinematographer.

<i>Monella</i> (film) 1998 film by Tinto Brass

Monella is a 1998 Italian comedy-erotic film directed by Tinto Brass.

<i>Nerosubianco</i> 1969 film by Tinto Brass

Nerosubianco, styled as nEROSubianco and also released with the international title Attraction, is an Italian black comedy directed by Tinto Brass. The film deals with a variety of contemporary themes such as sexual freedom, racial tensions, and political radicalism from the perspective of a young upper-class Italian woman. The film has also been titled rather exploitatively like The Artful Penetration of Barbara and as Black on White, a literal translation of the Italian title.

<i>Capriccio</i> (1987 film) 1987 film directed by Tinto Brass

Capriccio, also released with the international titles Love & Passion and Capri Remembered, is an Italian erotic drama film directed by Tinto Brass. It is a liberal adaptation of the novel Le lettere da Capri by Mario Soldati.

<i>Action</i> (1980 film) 1979 Italian film directed by Tinto Brass

Action is a 1980 Italian black comedy directed by Tinto Brass. The film is reminiscent of the director's earlier avant-garde low-budget works such as The Howl and Nerosubianco.

Alexander Tuschinski German film producer, writer and director

Alexander Tuschinski is a German film director, film producer, writer, actor and musician. Internationally, he is best known for his feature films that won awards at various film festivals, as well as his academic writing on the early works of Tinto Brass. Notably, his research and interest of Brass's work on Caligula was examined in his feature documentary Mission: Caligula. At the documentary's premiere, Penthouse announced plans to work with Tuschinski on a new cut of Caligula that aims to restore and finish Brass's original version of the film. Though 85 minutes of his original workprint will be used, it remains unclear if Brass himself will be involved in finishing the film's edit.

Francesca Nunzi is an Italian actress. She graduated at the Laboratory of Performing Exercises under Gigi Proietti and is best known for films such as Tinto Brass' sex comedies, Cheeky and Monella.

Osiride Pevarello Italian actor and stuntman

Osiride Pevarello was an Italian actor. His brother is Renzo Pevarello.

Ermanno Donati was an Italian film producer. Along with Luigi Carpentieri, Donati won the Nastro d'Argento award for Best Producer for the film The Day of the Owl.

Senso '45 is an Italian erotic drama film written and directed by Tinto Brass, inspired on the novel Senso by Camillo Boito and Luchino Visconti's 1954 film.


  1. A definite new talent. Gene Moskowitz, "Few 'Quality' at Venice: Emphasis on Art via Austerity". In: Variety, 11 September 1963, S. 5. Scan found at:
  2. Article about Tempo Libero and Tempo Lavorativo
  3. "TINTO BRASS" . Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  4. Tinto Brass: Audio-commentary on the Cult Epics DVD of "Deadly Sweet" ("Col Cuore in Gola") DVD075
  5. Sally K. Brass (not related): "Director's Quest for Reality". In: Los Angeles Times, 2. September 1970, S. 13.
  6. "il periodo ribelle, anarchico e sperimentale", found in: Article about Tempo Libero and Tempo Lavorativo
  7. Tinto Brass: Audio-commentary on the Cult Epics DVD of "The Howl" ("L'Urlo") DVD072
  8. List of awards that were awarded at the 1971 event.
  9. "Berlinale 1972: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-03-15.
  10. "Tinto Brass discusses his original ideas for the film, plus talks about the style of the current film as it was released (video)" . Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  11. Evolver, "First, I check out the butt" Brass interview on the occasion of his 75th birthday, May 2008
  12. "Tinto Brass fan website - Italico Brass". Rjbuffalo.com. Retrieved 2010-10-13.
  13. "Locanda Cipriani". Archived from the original on 21 April 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2015.
  14. "Tinto Brass candidato con i Radicali". La Stampa (in Italian). 22 January 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  15. "Cinema: Tinto Brass e' grave". ANSA (in Italian). 18 April 2011. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
  16. "Films in Review: Article about Nerosubianco, and about the retrospective". Archived from the original on 29 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  17. "Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival: Article about Tinto Brass retrospective" (PDF). Retrieved 5 November 2014.